Brother Ali, the blind and albino hip hop artist who dropped the track “Uncle Sam Goddamn,” isn’t afraid to make a statement in his music, and if this is your first time listening to him, he’s sure to leave an impression. Defying the odds, Ali manages to see so much without being able to see at all, making a rather bold statement on America, “land of the free.”
His chorus alone is dense enough to spend hours unpacking, and when the verses start flowing so does the dialogue of social justice and what it means to be a citizen of the United States.
Welcome to the United Snakes
Land of the thief home of the slave
The grand imperial guard where the dollar is sacred and power is God
His powerful lyrics may not be what you want to hear, but it is no doubt something you should be hearing.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Thursday, April 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
There’s a reason why nearly everyone has read The Great Gatsby and hardly anyone has read Tender Is the Night. “Winter Dreams“ is an obvious example of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s early attempts to perfect the idea of Gatsby. Its main characters—the self-made Dexter and Judy Jones who swims with a “sinuous crawl”—are a proto-Gatsby and Daisy, but I feel “Winter Dreams“ represents a different facet to the great promise of the “American dream.”
“He knew the sort of men they were–the men who when he first went to college had entered from the great prep schools with graceful clothes and the deep tan of healthy summers. He had seen that, in one sense, he was better than these men. He was newer and stronger. Yet in acknowledging to himself that he wished his children to be like them he was admitting that he was but the rough, strong stuff from which they eternally sprang.”
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Thursday, April 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
If you’re looking for something fun, colorful, and clever to read this lovely Spring, look no further than Victoria Grace Elliott’s charming comic, Balderdash! Or, A Tale of Two Witches.
Set in the lush countryside of a fantastical country, Balderdash! follows two young magic users, Georgie and Afia, in their quests to learn their respective crafts and grow into accomplished women in the process. Georgie, a rustic and determined witch, has traveled far from home to apprentice herself to the master baker Fausto. There’s a catch, though–neither the curmudgeonly Fausto nor his town seem too keen on having a witch among them, and Georgie (while being talented and driven) doesn’t have much experience in doing things without the aid of magic.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Thursday, April 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Singer-songwriter Lia Ices’s 2014 album Ices was a psychedelic pop voyage with a noticeable bohemian flair. But she gets in touch with her inner spirit animal in this music video for single “Creatures.” Directed by Tom Jean Webb, the animated video is aesthetically an extension of Ices‘ artwork, going far and wide to represent nature and mysticism with a raw animal spirit. “The song celebrates this wild woman archetype that is connected to the Earth and the senses,” she explained to Nowness. “ I think that’s something Tom I and both celebrate in our work.” But symbolism aside, the animation here is top-notch and recommended for those who like abstract imagery paired with drowsy melodies.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, April 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
Hayao Miyazaki, the masterful animation director who is responsible for more well-known releases such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, has a long list of filmic achievements — but if you ask me, there’s one movie in particular that tops the list. Howl’s Moving Castle is an adaptation of the 2000 British novel by Diana Wynne Jones, but thanks to its serene qualities and artistically breathtaking imagery, it’s oh-so-much-better.
While the plot of this film follows a young hat maker’s journey aboard a giant, mechanical castle that travels the rural hills under the guidance of an extremely beautiful (and extremely vain) prince, the themes of this movie go deep, revolving around issues of pollution, love, aging, and power. This film may be of great entertainment value to children, but I can almost guarantee you that any age individual will find his or her eyes glued to the screen. With moments of pure aesthetic perfection and quiet realizations sprinkled throughout this film, it truly is one of Miyazaki’s bests.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Wednesday, April 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
Colleen McCullough’s sumptuous historical fiction novel The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra is the sixth book in her Masters of Rome series, but unlike authors such as Margaret George or Karen Essex, the story is told from Julius Caesar’s point of view. The October Horse allows you to peek inside the head of the world’s most enigmatic dictator, and McCullough’s meticulous dialogue brings the world of the Roman Republic to life in vibrant colors.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, April 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
Hardboiled private eye Detective Chirpums is tough, but even the city’s best avian investigator needs to drown the horrors of everyday life with a bottle of Grackle’s Finest. Too bad he doesn’t have the time–rent is due and the detective needs to solve a case, get paid, and make sure he doesn’t get evicted. The city is filled with thieving magpies and orderly wrens, many of whom are none too impressed at Chirpums’ tan trenchcoat and fedora.
Detective Chirpums, Private Investigator is more comedy than noir, as the premise suggests, but the trappings are there for those who don’t mind seeing the genre’s conventions carried out by rotund birds. The gameplay is minimal but the art is gorgeous. Light-hearted (well, for a murder investigation) and irreverent, and entertaining for those who enjoy seeing a cross between Sin City and Animal Crossing, Detective Chirpums is brimming with style, femme fatales, and puns.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, April 29th, 2015||No Comments »|